Denver Actors Fund in Action: Matt Gnojek
A superhero in our midst injured in the service of others finds a community waiting to help him in his time of need
Aid recipient: Denver native Matt Gnojek recently starred as Seymour in Equinox Theatre Company’s production of Little Shop of Horrors. The Aurora Sentinel’s Ramsey Scott called Gnojek “an amazing singer whose talent and genuineness pushed the musical to a higher place.” He also has performed with BDT Stage, Performance Now and Candlelight Dinner Playhouse. Matt, who is only 30 years old, started his own 501c3 charity called “Colorado Captain” in 2016. Essentially, he takes on the persona of Captain America and rides on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle across the nation visiting hospitals and raising funds to fight pediatric cancer and support veterans, refugees and various child-focused causes. Matt is also the son of longtime BDT Stage drummer Nick Gnojek.
His medical story: On his most recent national charity ride in October, Matt was involved in a motorcycle accident in Peoria, Ill., that resulted in a broken ankle and subsequent surgery. He was ordered by his doctor to stay off his injured foot while he recovers, making him unable to work any of his three part-time jobs or conduct his charity work for three months.
More about Matt’s charity: For more than two years, Matt has been riding on a near-daily basis dressed as a star-spangled superhero named Colorado Captain to raise funds for charity and bring smiles to young and old throughout the Mile High City. “I’m no hero,” says Matt. “I’m just a guy in a suit. I support, promote and protect civil rights, human rights and children’s causes across the nation.” At the time of his accident in October, Matt had raised about $5,o00 for families batting pediatric cancer by visiting 16 states on his 2018 tour. For more information, go to ColoradoCaptain.Com
How we have helped: After an analysis of Matt’s financial situation, The Denver Actors Fund board has voted to provide him with $4,128 to help with essential living expenses and lost wages during his recovery.
How you can help us help Matt more: If you would like to direct a specific donation to help Matt pay down more of the expenses that have accrued while he has been unable to work, simply mail checks in any amount made out to Denver Actors Fund (with Matt Gnojek’s name written in the topic field), to P.O. Box 11182, Denver, CO 80212. Or use this donation link. If you use the online option, be sure to designate that your donation is a targeted donation for Matt Gnojek. (He will receive 100 percent of your donation.) Otherwise, your donation will be applied to the replenishment of the Denver Actors Fund’s general fund.
How you can help us replenish: At The Denver Actors Fund, we love it when the money goes out as fast as it comes in, which means we are in a constant state of replenishment. That’s the gig. If you would like to help us do that, simply mail checks in any amount made out to Denver Actors Fund to P.O. Box 11182, Denver, CO 80212. Or use this donation link.
A message from Matt: “I hope that through this opportunity, I may continue to use my own charity work to benefit others in every possible way that I can. I can’t tell you how much the DAF means to me. You have proven the sincerity of your hearts by helping some of my dearest friends, and now me.” (Read the full text below.)
The Denver Actors Fund has now made more than $306,000 available to Colorado artists in medical need.
Note: At the Denver Actors Fund, anonymity of aid recipients is presumed and fully protected, unless and until the recipient chooses to have his or her story told.
Since 2010, I have been privileged to count myself an active member of the performing arts community here in Denver. I’ve celebrated the opportunity to work with inspiring companies such as BDT Stage, Performance Now, Candlelight Dinner Playhouse, Equinox and more. Over the past three years, my work in the community has focused around my own 501c3 charity called “Colorado Captain,” which sends Captain America out on a Harley to visit hospitals across the nation fundraising for pediatric cancer while also supporting veterans, refugees and other important child-focused causes. Following my injury in October (described above), I was forced to wait for my foot to heal. As months passed, bills and other stresses mounted at an alarming rate.
However, life has a miraculous way of pushing you to the brink just to remind you how very marvelous the gift of fellowship can be. While I’ve certainly been pleasantly aware of the DAF for quite some time, I never dreamed the day would come when I would consider submitting myself as a candidate for relief. But at the urging of friends in the community as well as my father, Nick Gnojek (longtime drummer at BDT Stage), I humbly submitted my application. When I learned to my utter astonishment that the DAF had approved the release of funds that would save me from the utter despair that has threatened countless artists throughout their careers, I was on the verge of joyful tears.
I am speechless in the face of this kindness, and my amazement is matched only by the inspiring, honest love that the DAF exemplifies in its mission to support so many talented theatre artists here in Colorado. It cannot be understated how very real this love is. I will never know what I have done to warrant such good friends, family and fellow artists in my life. I am, unequivocally, the luckiest man alive. Being loved by someone humbly gives you strength, and loving others gives you courage to see the journey through.
The time I have shared with all of you in the Denver arts family has been the single most valuable part of my life. For without your exceptional hearts and phenomenal talents, I would not be who I am today. 2018 has been an adventure, rich with challenge and ripe with reward. But this is just the beginning.
I hope that through this opportunity, I may continue to use my own charity work to benefit others, in every possible way that I can. I can’t tell you how much the DAF means to me. You have proven the sincerity of your hearts by helping some of my dearest friends, and now me. I hope that the excellent work you do in supporting the arts continues to thrive with every new life you touch.
I can’t wait to see what the future brings and I owe that future to The Denver Actors Fund.
Sincerely yours in unwavering gratitude.
Channel 7 news report on Matt Gnojek:
HOW YOU CAN HELP US REPLENISH:
To DONATE to the Denver Actors Fund, please CLICK HERE (with our humble thanks)
ABOUT THE DENVER ACTORS FUND:
The Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in medical need. In addition to $306,000 in financial relief, a team of more than 60 Denver Actors Fund volunteers has offered good neighborly assistance to more than 100 beneficiaries including meal prep and delivery, child care, transportation, errands, construction, pet-sitting and more. For more information, visit our web site at DenverActorsFund.Org.
HOW TO APPLY FOR AID:
MORE WAYS TO HELP:
DONATE BY MAIL:
Send checks made out to the Denver Actors Fund to:
P.O. Box 11182
Denver, CO 80212
Ever thought about taking a more active role in the Denver Actors Fund? Click here for more information
COME TO OUR EVENTS:
Keep an eye out on this page for a list of fun upcoming events that benefit The Denver Actors Fund
VISIT OUR ONLINE MERCH STORE:
Click here to see how you can buy DAF products such as T-shirts, key chains, puzzles and much more